Once again, the Packers head into Week Three of the NFL season with more questions raised than answered. Once again, a road defeat in a new stadium against a Super-Bowl-contending team has caused dissension in the ranks of fans.
In this young season, injuries are already becoming a factor. The offensive line, normally a strength of the Packers, was rocked by the absence of tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari.
Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were also hurt on the suspect turf of Mercedes-Benz stadium. The Falcons game underscored the importance of home-field advantage in the NFL playoffs; an unfamiliar surface can wreak havoc.
While there are many concerns for the 1-1 Packers, here are 5 crucial queries for the Bengals game:
Should the Pats/Raiders game in Mexico be moved?
Who will be healthy enough to play?
Defensive leader Mike Daniels is expected to take the field, and the possibility exists that Vince Biegel and Montravius Adams may be healthy enough to see game action. The offense may have all five starters back on the line, but Nelson and Cobb remain important elements in the Packers’ offense. Allison and Janis may have expanded roles as the Pro-Bowlers recover.
Will Kevin King start at cornerback?
King’s work Sunday night made him the highest rated Packers cornerback, and he may be given a starter’s role against the anemic Bengals offense.
Can Ty Montgomery continue to be a dual threat as a running back and receiver?
Montgomery leads Green Bay in yards from scrimmage this season. His two rushing touchdowns put him almost over his total from last season (three). Montgomery’s contribution goes beyond yardage and carries. He creates mismatches with his size, speed, and by going into motion. Cincinnati has an athletic defense that will be tested by Montgomery’s versatility.
Is Clay Matthews best suited to play inside linebacker?
Matthews looked solid coming from the inside against Atlanta. His strength now is tackling and forcing double teams, the dynamic speed rushes have faded. The return of Ahmad Brooks, who is still in concussion protocol, would shore up the anemic pass rush against the Bengals. If Mike Daniels is unable to play, Matthews would have more value on the inside to clog up rush lanes and create openings for Nick Perry and Joe Thomas.
Can the Bengals score a touchdown?
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor replaces Ken Zampese in Cincinnati, but Cincy’s problems stem from more than play-calling. The Bengals let two starting offensive linemen walk in free agency, and the results for Andy Dalton have been similar to what Aaron Rodgers faced against Atlanta without Bulaga and Bakhtiari. The Bengals have plenty of weapons on offense, including rookie Joe Mixon, so their lack of scoring can mostly be attributed to the constant barrage of pressure on Dalton. Dom Capers is assuredly watching those films and dialing up the necessary blitz packages.
The Packers need to bounce back after Sunday night’s loss, facing the Bengals on familiar turf should be beneficial. Many injured players are day-to-day, Jordy Nelson, Cobb, and Daniels will likely be gametime decisions.